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SpaceWorks Engineering Releases Study On Emerging Commercial Transport Services To ISS

The ISS.
by Staff Writers
Atlanta GA (SPX) Jan 24, 2007
Engineering consulting firm SpaceWorks Engineering announces the release of a new space economic study entitled: "Winning in the Next Space Market: Prospects for Financial Success of Commercial Transportation Services to the International Space Station (ISS)." This is the first study of its kind which provides quantitative evidence that emerging space transportation companies can make a profit supporting the ISS and estimates the cost savings to the government of such outsourcing.

NASA has expressed a willingness to purchase crew and cargo transportation services to the ISS from emerging commercial companies after Space Shuttle retirement in 2010. Through the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program, NASA plans to make several hundred million dollars available to companies for development and demonstration of such services.

This study is an independent assessment using publicly-available assumptions about COTS demand, supply, and government involvement. SEI has used its Nodal Economic Space Commerce (NESC) model to simulate this future market from 2006 until 2017 including the effects of vehicle failures. The NESC model is a dynamic space market simulation and financial engineering tool that uses Agent-Based Modeling (ABM) techniques to simulate the complex interactions between supply and demand.

Results from the study indicate that commercial companies can be financially successful delivering crew and cargo to the ISS. A diverse set of companies can be financially successful, even beating competitors if they position their product correctly in terms of capability, reliability, and price.

A US$6.5 to US$7 billion market is enabled for commercial companies, while the government saves as much as US$8 billion compared to using government-only vehicles over the 8 year period from 2010 to 2017. SEI's study has shown that the use of commercial providers for ISS support represents a potential win-win scenario for the United States government and emerging commercial companies.

"The popular opinion is that the COTS approach is cheaper for NASA and makes good business sense for the commercial companies, but no publicly available study prior to this one has investigated the sincerity of this claim," according to Mr. Dominic DePasquale, Systems Engineer at SpaceWorks Engineering, Inc. (SEI) and the lead author of this study, "SEI has now determined through advanced economic simulation that the benefits of NASA's COTS program and the future ISS support market are real."

"As this study has shown, SEI is at the forefront of financial modeling of future space ventures, bridging the knowledge within the aerospace industry and Wall Street," said Mr. A.C. Charania, Senior Futurist at SpaceWorks Engineering, Inc. (SEI) and co-author of the study, "SEI now offers this advanced economic modeling capability to hardware providers, new space entrepreneurs, equity/venture financing organizations, and anyone else who is attempting to determine the financial viability of new space services ranging from ISS support to space tourism."

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JOULE II Launches With Success At Poker Flat
Poker Flat AK (SPX) Jan 24, 2007
From Poker Flat Research Range north of Fairbanks, four NASA rockets launched into an aurora display over northern Alaska, starting at 3:29 a.m. Alaska Standard Time. Scientists hope to learn more about electrical heating of the thin atmosphere from about 60 to 120 miles above Earth's surface with the launch of these rockets. The project is called JOULE II.

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